'tools of torture' still traded from Europe
Spiked batons, thumb cuffs and stun belts are not exactly commodities you’ll see on a shopping channel or your average retail catalogue here in the UK. But these tools of torture – which really are the stuff of nightmares – are regularly traded around the world. Horrifyingly, as Amnesty and Omega Research Foundation have today revealed in its report, many of these weapons are being traded from European companies, in spite of EU regulations banning the trade.
As pointed out in the FT today, Germany and the Czech Republic are among a number of European countries which have allowed the export of such weapons.
Today’s report ‘From Words to Deeds’ points out that it’s the loopholes in existing legislation which have allowed export licences to be granted. However such loopholes significantly undermine Europe’s stance on torture. On one hand it has a firm commitment in its Human Rights Convention to strictly prohibit the use of torture in all circumstances, but on the other hand it is tacitly allowing the transfer of weapons which are used in torturous acts.
Such double standards should not be allowed to persist. Tomorrow delegates in the European Parliament will meet to discuss this issue in Brussels. We hope that they will take seriously the findings outlined in Amnesty’s report today and act swiftly to ensure that they put a stop to the trade of torture tools across Europe.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.